Monday, May 31, 2010

A Cult Paris Wine Bar - Juveniles

Picture: Tim Johnston and Christian G.E.Schiller

I was in France in Paris recently and visited a couple of places where you can have a glass of wines. I will report on this in a posting “A glass of Wine in Paris”. In the meantime, today and in a few days, two postings on two wine bars which I found particularly attractive.

Picture: The Seine River in Paris

Tim Johnston and Mark Williamson

One of the best wine bars on the contemporary Parisian wine scene is Juveniles, a cosy wine bar cum wine shop in the 1st Arrondissement on the Left Bank, at 47 rue de Richelieu, very close to Palais Royal, the Louvre and the Grands Boulevards further north.

Juveniles was started by a Scot and a Brit a few years ago, Tim Johnston and Mark Williamson. Tim Johnston worked at Mark Williamson's (the Brit) Willis' Wine Bar from 1981. They created a wine dealership under the name of Great Grape Traders in 1984.

In 1987, they opened the Juvéniles shop, selling wine and serving some tapas with wine. Juveniles became an outlet for off the beaten track wines that they would dig up from all over France.

In 1998, the two long-time associates separated and Tim took the wheel on Juvéniles and Great Grape Traders. By that time, Juveniles had asserted itself on the Paris wine bar scene and began sourcing wines from further away. In the early 1990s, Tim made two trips to Australia and started to import wine from there. Juveniles became, with Willis' Wine Bar, the only place in Paris at the time to sell Australian wines, causing quite a stir.

Juveniles is today a 'cult' Parisian wine bar and a fabled pit stop on the international wine bar circuit. Not only does it offer a wonderful selection of both French and other Old World, but also New World wines; and it maintains an excellent kitchen. Mark Williamson continues to run the nearby Willis' Wine Bar and also neighboring Maceo Restaurant.

Tim Johnston

Tim Johnston is a highly likable wine-loving bon vivant. It is fun to talk with him. And, of course, he speaks French and English.

The Place

The room is not very large; there are a bit more than a dozen small tables. It is a very personal place with naive paintings of a friend of Tim on the walls.

The Wines

Last week, when I was there, Juveniles offered about 2 dozen wines by the glass, including a sparkler from Australia, but overall surprisingly little New World wines; the list is basically comprised of off-the-beaten track Old World wines. One thing to note is that since 1990 Tim doesn't sell any reds from Bordeaux or from Burgundy any more. He likes the Rhone wines, dating back from the time he was living in Aix en Provence, before working at Willis.

Juvéniles is also a wine shop where you can choose among about 60 different wines and pay to go as you would do in your usual wine shop. The wines on the shelves have both prices displayed, the one to go, and the one to drink on the spot.

The Food

The menu is not extensive and not small; you have a good choice of dishes. Juveniles' menu includes starters such as homemade duck foie gras and crostini of prosciutto, tomato confit and sliced parmesan. Hearty main dishes include tuna steak, duck flank and rib steak. I had some cheese, which included a Colston Basset English Stilton and a Montgomery unpasteurized English farmhouse cheddar. Desserts include roasted figs in red wine and "Donald's chocolate cake".

Tim Johnston’s Own Wines

Tim Johnston makes his own wines. In his previous life before 1984, he vinified for example at Chateau Montelena in Calistoga and Jordan Winery in Healdsburg. He also vinified in Margaret river in Australia, a region he considers the only one in Australia to make great Cabernet Sauvignons.

Together with celebrated Rhone Valley winemaker Marcel Richaud, he blends a red table wine. The blend I had – purple 12 – comprised Grenache, Shiraz and Corrigan; it had 14.5 percent alcohol and was fermented and aged in stainless steel. Tim explained since it is a table wine, it cannot carry the vintage on the label (?), but the number 12 indicates that this was the 12th vintage. If you know the first one, you know that this one is a 2009.

My tasting notes: full ruby in the glass, attack of strawberries and gooseberries with some wet stone on the nose, a full-bodied wine, good structure, very fruity on the palate, lingering finish.

47 rue de Richelieu
75001 Paris
Metro Palais Royal (line 1 & 7)
phone 01 42 97 46 49

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

In the glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

Wine Bar: Paris Bar and Cafe in Frankfurt am Main

In the Glass: 2007 Rheinhessen with Oysters at the Ten Bells in the Lower East Side in Manhattan

Wine Bar: Paris of Alexandre-Balthazar-Laurent Grimod de la Reyniere

Wine bar: Paris, Berlin, New York, London

Wine bar: Paris --- Le Petit Monceau, Willi's wine bar and Lavinia

Wine Bars in London: Vats Wine Bar, the Cork and Bottle, the Providores and Tapa Room

Here are reviews of wine bars that I posted in the past couple of months on my Blog in

Paris, Berlin, London, New York
Frankfurt am Main/Germany

Manhattan Wine Bars - Bar Boulud, Ten Bells, Terroir, Clo


  1. Premium wines and fine wine merchants providing good red wine, argentinian, chilean, Australian, french, best italian wines. Some of the most expensive wines to order online.
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  2. good information for Tim Johnston’s Own italian wines.

  3. Good selection of wine bars in the Guardian but missed La Cremerie